Morning Call: pick of the papers

The ten must-read comment pieces from this morning's papers.

1. Stay in the EU. It’s clearly in our interests (Times)

Europe isn’t perfect but we would be wrong to leave the world’s biggest trading bloc, argues Alistair Darling.

2. We doctors worry about NHS failings, too (Daily Telegraph)

Hospital A&Es are at breaking point, and it’s no use blaming the patients, says Sarah Wollaston.

3. The time for a British decision is now (Financial Times)

It is doubtful London could remain the continent’s financial capital if the UK quit the EU, writes Martin Wolf.

4. Labour must stand firm: no to a referendum on Europe (Guardian)

Out-of-office Tories have Cameron in a corner, writes Polly Toynbee. But Miliband should ignore calls to hold a futile and distracting in-out vote.

5. Our universities should take a lesson from the land of the free (Daily Telegraph)

Britain and the US have chosen two very different models for funding universities – and it’s clear which is winning, says Fraser Nelson.

6. Despite the cynics, don’t give up on politics (Times)

Alan Johnson’s memoir of childhood poverty is a reminder that our leaders are not all from an out-of-touch elite, says Philip Collins.

7. The new Archbishop should stop this gesture politics (Independent)

Justin Welby should seize the opportunity to totally reshape the role of bishops in the House of Lords, says Frank Field. 

8. Probation cannot be solved by a minister in a hurry (Guardian)

Reforming probation is too important to be jeopardised by a rush to results for partisan political purposes, says a Guardian editorial.

9. George Osborne's hair of the dog that bit us (Daily Telegraph)

The Chancellor wants a mini-boom to restore growth, but that’s what got us into this mess, writes Jeremy Warner. 

10. Alex Ferguson's hairdryer treatment won't cut it in politics (Guardian)

The Manchester United boss has been wildly lauded for his success on the pitch, writes Simon Jenkins. Those who govern us don't have it so easy.

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Every day, Theresa May's mask slips a little further

First the Human Rights Act, now Dfid. What's next, asks Jon Ashworth.

The news that the new International Development Secretary is about to slash development spending and channel Britain's aid budget into defence spending is yet another major slip of the new government's centrist mask.

Theresa May has tried to pitch her policy agenda as prioritising social justice and a “Britain that works for everyone” but the reality is that this announcement is the true right-wing colours of her government shining through.

The appointment of the most right-wing Cabinet for decades was a major warning sign, with figures such as David Davis, who said he was “very worried” about sexual discrimination legislation, and Liam Fox, who said equal marriage was “social engineering”, now at the highest level in government.

Those of us passionate about development were horrified when Priti Patel, who has previously called for the Department for International Development to be scrapped, was appointed as the department's new Secretary of State, but few of us would have imagined such a dramatic break with Britain's strong development legacy so soon.

Not only is what is reported very dubious in terms of the strict regulations placed on development spending- and Priti Patel has already come dangerously close to crossing that line by saying we could use the aid budget to leverage trade deals - it also betrays some of the very poorest in the world at a time when many regions are facing acute humanitarian crises.

It was Gordon Brown who put international development at the heart of 13 years of Labour government, massively increasing aid spending and focusing minds in Britain and abroad on the plight of those suffering from poverty, famine and the ravages of war. David Cameron followed Gordon’s lead, enshrining the 0.7 per cent aid budget in law, making Britain the first G7 country to do so. In light of these new revelations Theresa May must now restate her commitment to the target.

Sadly, it now seems that Theresa May and Priti Patel want to turn the clock back on all that progress, diminishing Britain's role in international development and subverting the original mission of the department by turning it into a subsidiary of the Ministry of Defence, focused on self-interest and security. Not only will this create the opposite of the "outward-looking and globally-minded country" Theresa May said just weeks ago she wanted Britain to be, it’s also a betrayal of some of the poorest people across the planet.

Other examples of the right-wing traits of this Government surfaced earlier this week too. On Friday it emerged that Gerard Lopez, a tax-haven based businessman with links to Russian State banks that have been sanctioned in the wake of the Ukrainian conflict, donated £400,000 to the Tory party just months ago. Theresa May needs to tell us what meetings and interactions she has had with Lopez.

Earlier in the week Liz Truss, the new Justice Secretary, brazenly insisted that the Government would proceed with scrapping the Human Rights Act, despite fierce opposition from politicians of all parties and the public.

With so many right-wing announcements trickling though when the government has hardly had time to change the name plaques above the doors you've got to wonder and worry about what else is set to come.

Jon Ashworth is Labour MP for Leicester South.